Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obama's Dream Team: Oprah, Athletes to Join in Cause to Save America

And now it is done. We’ve elected a president who claims that he plans to levy new taxes only on the wealthiest 5% of Americans. This is good. It guarantees money in the federal coffers, it will sustain the needs of the remaining 95% of us who are not so fortunate, and it appropriately penalizes a lot of people in America who have no earthly right to be that rich.

Like Oprah Winfrey. Where else but in America could a middle-brow, mediocre-minded person like Oprah get elevated to goddesslike status? That most fickle, random and nondiscriminating of financial vehicles—the media—has made her rich beyond the wildest dreams of any 100 average citizens. Without any intellectual prowess, Oprah has, besides commandeering a media empire of voracious proportions, even managed to become the arbiter of taste in American letters. Her opinion means more to book authors than does the combined critical acumen of the New York Times Book Review, the New Yorker, or the New York Review of Books. And how deliciously fortuitous that she operates from the new power center of the country: Chicago.

To be sure, Oprah Winfrey has money to burn. And trust me: She will not miss a few hundred million. Doubtless, given her hallowed status as modern-day saint, she will feel very good knowing that her spuriously gotten gains will go to ensuring health care for poorer folks all over the country, to making housing and education more affordable for all, and to help ease the credit and mortgage crunch. Not to mention helping to support our men and women in arms.

Oprah is an obvious target for the new president’s share-the-wealth ideas. But there are many other obscenely rich Americans that the new commander-in-chief should have in his sights.

The worlds of American sports and show business count among them thousands of individuals who are grossly overpaid for what they do. The new president, true to his word, surely won’t allow them to skate while Oprah does the heavy lifting.

Here’s a partial list of sports, movie and music figures who certainly fall into the 5% category. It’s time they did their duty in support of the plans of the new leader of the free world to make life bearable for all:

Quincy Jones, Bill Cosby, Chris Rock, Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Morgan Freeman, Spike Lee, P Diddy (or whatever he’s calling himself these days), Michael Jackson, Russell Simmons, Vanessa Williams, Will Smith, Jamie Fox, Prince, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan, Ken Griffey, Jr., LaDainian Tomlinson, Vince Young, Reggie Bush, Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, JaMarcus Russell, Terrell Owens, Ryan Howard, Allen Iverson, Barry Bonds.

This is just a start, of course. Once all the professional sports teams comply by providing detailed lists of their players’ yearly salaries, deferred income, bonuses, etc., there are many second- and third-tiered jocks who will neatly fit into the 5% category. DeAngelo Hall, a defensive back for the Oakland Raiders, has already earned $8 million through the first 8 games of the 2008 season. Not bad for a guy that was released by the team just today and was put on waivers, where he can be picked up by any other team willing to absorb his 7-year, $70 million deal, under which $24.5 million is guaranteed. (Don’t worry, someone will step up and help DeAngelo out.)

Suddenly, the frightening aspects of the new presidency—tantamount to the scenario of a Disney movie where the nice-looking, adorably charming office boy is suddenly thrust into the CEO’s chair—don’t look so bad. At least he won’t be spending my money.

Barack? You go, boy!!

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